Thanks, Lord, for Opportunity

Caring, compassionate Salvationists throughout the West will welcome the needy, the hungry, the homeless to Thanksgiving tables filled with bountiful meals once again this year. As always, the all-embracing love of Christ will be the motivating and guiding factor. Below are a few examples of holiday programs.


The day before Thanksgiving, Phoenix Suns basketball fans are invited to “Take a Turkey to the Game”–a frozen turkey, that is! That evening, on the plaza outside the America West Arena, The Salvation Army will be collecting turkeys to distribute and serve during the upcoming holiday season. As fans and passersby donate their birds, they will be treated to the engaging sounds of the Salvation Army brass band, as well as children’s choral groups from corps across the Valley.

The “Suitcase of Dreams,” a seven-foot tall fiberglass replica of Samsonite luggage built by America West Airlines, will also make an appearance outside the Arena. The “suitcase” is a traveling promotion which visits area malls collecting food, toys and clothing to benefit The Salvation Army. Upon donating items, individuals are entered in a drawing to win four round trip tickets anywhere America West Airlines flies. The November 26th drawing will be broadcast live on KSLX-FM, Phoenix’s classic rock station.

The Salvation Army’s fun doesn’t stop once the game begins! At half time, local personalities will compete in the Annual “Turkey Stuff” contest. These celebrities will costume their turkeys creatively at center court to create the “Best Dressed Bird” in town. The contest is judged by audience applause.

A bounteous dinner will be served at the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza in Phoenix on Thanksgiving Day, and six local corps are also serving meals.

Hawaii/Pacific Islands

At the Neal Blaisdell Center, more than 2,200 hungry guests will gather to share a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the invitation of The Salvation Army. Planning for this event begins in September with a core of veteran volunteers, Advisory Board members and officers. “It is a huge task to entertain and feed so many,” stated Major Don R. Mowery, divisional commander, “but with the cooperation of the community it all comes together.”

The community does contribute in a big way, with products they manufacture, cash, facilities, or people-power. Courtesy of Mayor Jeremy Harris, the NBC Exhibition Hall was made available.

The Aloha spirit is further demonstrated by the overwhelming number of volunteers who offer their assistance. By 6:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving, the kitchen is bustling and the aroma of fresh brewed coffee fills the air. The Salvation Army band begins the day’s festivities at nine, followed by a lineup of local entertainers who donate their time and talent. Volunteers transform the dining area into a warm, family-style holiday atmosphere while others cut, dip and serve. When the maile lei is untied, guests pour into the dining area, to begin with a Thanksgiving prayer led by Mowery. After the Mayor presides at the ceremonial carving of one perfectly roasted turkey, all guests are served within a half hour. A caring, generous community will have come together once again to provide Hawaii’s less fortunate with a day to remember, filled with fellowship, good food and God’s love.


Across the Alaska Division, plans are underway for community Thanksgiving dinners and food box distribution programs in most service areas. Fairbanks, Ketchikan and Wrangell will host community dinners to feed the hungry. Food baskets are distributed in most of the smaller communities, including Hoonah, the Mat-Su Valley, and Petersburg.

Kettle bells will ring in Anchorage at the third annual Season of Giving corporate luncheon signaling the beginning of the holiday season. This new program, aimed at promoting corporate support for The Salvation Army in Anchorage, has been well received, with over $30,000 in pledges from local sponsors. Kettles with the corporate sponsor’s name or logo will be displayed at the luncheon before being placed in the community on November 22.

At divisional headquarters, the Women’s Auxiliary will host the 24th annual Doll Show and Tea. Over 100 dolls, dressed in handmade clothes, will be on display at the tea. A live auction during the tea will be held to sell prize-winning dolls, with proceeds to help support Army programs in the community.

The Anchorage Community Thanksgiving Dinner will serve about 1,500 this year. Although most holiday dinners in the community are targeted to feed the homeless, The Salvation Army’s dinner is a true community meal which is open to any Anchorage citizen who may wish to share in the fellowship of this event. Meals will also be delivered to seniors and shut-ins.

Golden State

As has been the case for the past two years, National Football League Alumni, City Council members, news media, and the Redwood City Police Department will again stand side-by-side with Salvation Army staff and volunteers distributing more than 600 food baskets to the needy the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

The San Francisco Senior Meals and Activities Program provides meals to seniors who are 60 and over during lunch time, with a suggested donation of $1.25. Seven open sites are scheduled for Friday November 28, offering the full nutritional meal with all the trimmings.

Southern California

The Southern California Division will provide a traditional holiday meal this Thanksgiving for approximately 22,000, whose numbers include homeless adults, families in need and the elderly. Full-course meals will be served by Salvation Army staff and volunteers at corps and various program sites throughout the division. More than 2,000 meals alone will be served to residents of the Harbor Light Center in downtown Los Angeles and to those living in the Skid Row area, while nearly 900 are expected to be served at the Anaheim Temple Corps in Orange County.

Throughout the division, activities will take place before and after Thanksgiving Day to demonstrate the importance of giving thanks to God and in the sharing both physically and spiritually with one another at this time. “We want no one to go hungry on this day, but we must have a strong commitment to being sure that people are also given the Bread of Life,” said Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Alfred R. Van Cleef. “Scripture tells us that it is good for God’s people to give thanks, and this is the real purpose of gathering God’s children during the holiday season.”

On November 23, at 6 p.m., the second annual Service of Praise and Celebration will be held at Congress Hall, in downtown Los Angeles. More than 700 social service residents, corps members and guests attended last year’s concert. According to Divisional Social Services Secretary Steve Allen, this year’s concert will be equally uplifting and entertaining in its presentation, with powerful personal testimonies and a very special testimony by Pat Bauman, supervisor of the Safe Harbor program for women, plus rousing musical numbers provided by gospel choirs from

Harbor Light and The Haven program. The Pasadena Tabernacle Band and the ballet troupe from the Red Shield Youth Center are also expected to perform.

Del Oro

It’s Turkey Bowl time in Chico, Calif., when television personalities Kimberly Locke and James Fletcher, using frozen turkeys, bowl five frames down the local Holiday Market’s aisle. Pins knocked down will equal the number of turkeys donated to The Salvation Army. Holiday Market provides turkeys at cost and collects donations at their checkout stands, while the bowling pins are supplied by Orchard Lanes.

Last year, 157 pins were knocked down, benefiting that number of needy families. The public is invited to pledge specific amounts of money for each felled pin or to donate outright for the purchase of turkeys. In 1995, Chico radio station KMXI raised $6,500 with its on-air turkey pledge drive, providing 800 birds for Salvation Army food baskets.

Sacramento Citadel is planning to serve 800 meals to individuals throughout the Greater Sacramento area.


In Metro Denver, The Salvation Army sponsors a traditional sit-down Thanksgiving dinner for some 1,000 individuals. Each year, Safeway grocery chain donates all of the food and Brown Palace chefs prepare it the night before. More than 150 volunteers help serve the dinner at Currigan Hall. The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster volunteers provide coffee and bakery goods beforehand. The mood is set at the dinner by an Army Brass quartet and other entertainment, and volunteers as well as staff listen to guests’ needs and prayer requests.

In Salt Lake City, The Salvation Army has a unique way of reaching out to shut-ins. With the help of some 500 volunteers, using their own vehicles, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings is delivered to approximately 400 seniors in the community. Most of the food is donated, and is prepared by Salvation Army people. In Casper, Wyo., a Thanksgiving dinner for 500 is served at the Salvation Army facility.


At the William Booth Center in Seattle, homeless men get a chance to improve their lives as they are assisted with their practical, social and spiritual needs.

On Thanksgiving Day, the center hosts not only its residents, but opens its doors wide to any and all who wish to join The Salvation Army’s feast. While shelter residents anticipate the dinner, an invitation to all is published in local newspapers in both English and Spanish.

Hundreds of homeless men, women and children will gather at the Center to enjoy the holiday meal, door prizes and the enticing aroma of nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. While the big ovens at the center are full of stuffed turkeys, cooks in Puget Sound communities volunteer to bake their favorite pie recipes and bring them hot from their ovens. All this activity is to see that Seattle’s disadvantaged may enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.

Sierra Del Mar

More than 2,000 needy individuals are expected to converge on Golden Hall in downtown San Diego, when The Salvation Army opens its doors at 11 a.m. to serve a traditional Thanksgiving turkey feast with all the trimmings.

The U.S. Grant Hotel will prepare The Salvation Army-sponsored meal served by as many as 400 volunteers from throughout the county. Elsewhere, in the community of Escondido, the Army will serve 400 people at 1301 Las Villas Way, beginning at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

In Oceanside, more than 300 people will enjoy another Salvation Army feast at the Elks Lodge, 444 Country Club Lane, starting at 11 a.m.

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